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Old 08-15-2019, 03:43 AM
SamuelA is offline
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 3,852
Originally Posted by Akaj View Post
Why would autonomous trains be more difficult than autonomous trucks? Trucks on the highway have far more variables to manage than trains on rails. Trains don't have other trains changing lanes in front of them. They don't even have to steer.
They aren't more difficult. But I make the following prediction:

There will be widespread, close to ubiquitous automated cars and trucks while most trains, ships, and airliners will still be piloted/crewed by humans.

Why am I making this prediction? Trains, ships, and airplanes actually all have simpler environments to operate in. While they are more technically complex to run than driving a car, present software is more than adequate to the task.

The reason is market scale. Driving is a very hard task to automate, and it's requiring the development of state of the art software that heavily uses machine learning.

How much is it going to cost in total? Let's say the cost is 100 billion dollars. GM is already in it 20 billion, or is it 40 now?

Planes, trains, and ships are easier, but the intricacies of operating fairly complex diesel locomotives and scanning the track ahead and reading old maps and dealing with faults is still a complex task. Ships require coordinated efforts between a whole crew and maintenance and repair, including at sea, of complex systems. Planes are similarly complex.

So it's going to cost a lot of money to automate all the elements of these tasks, especially in the planes and ships case. Lets say it's 5 times easier, and the cost is 20 billion.

That's why. There are very few ships and airliners in the world, while there are hundreds of millions of cars. You are splitting any potential revenue from savings on paying crew far fewer ways.


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